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What I would tell my younger self 10 years ago

If someone told me, at 21, that at 31, I would be married to someone completely different, with no kids, and living in Puerto Rico with two dogs, I would have said… BITCH, YEAH RIGHT!

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Ah, so young and full of hope and, yet, so stupid

#FlashBackFriday
2008 was the year I regretted piercing my tongue, wore my studded belt with every outfit, and was in the middle of frying my hair with my straightener and dye jobs. My college dorm was my “residency” and I somehow managed to balance my grades, partying, and a long term relationship. Often, I was asked what I planned on doing with my life and I never had a solid answer. I didn’t exactly have a path to follow so I latched on to someone else’s idea of what sort of life plan I had for myself.

Growing up the younger of two, the only daughter, and in a traditional Latin home, I wasn’t exactly given too many choices or options of what I wanted to do with myself. School, however, was never up for debate – I had to go, like it or not. College was absolutely amazing but, at the time, I wasn’t living for myself. It wasn’t until 2009 that life kicked me in my lady balls and showed me I had to do something with my life but in 2008? I was lost. I was lost in this pressure of finding out what I wanted to do; will I marry him? Will I start a family? Will I be a working mom? Why am I in college? I had no guide to help me through these decisions.

So, if I could go back in time 10 years ago, here are a few things I would let Allison (no one called me Ally yet) know.

  1. No, I didn’t bring anything back from the future, so, you’re just going to have to believe me.
  2. You will find your calling in school, just not at this very moment. You will need to be alone to figure out what drives you and what makes you happy. Don’t give up on school. This will be your security.
  3. Yes, your brother marries her. Their love will open a part of your heart you didn’t know existed and your nephew, Damian, will draw out emotions you thought you’d never feel for a human being. You will understand what “fighting for your life” really means and how delicate life can be but Damian will also teach you how strong someone can be, no matter their size.
     

  4. That nervous tick you have with shaking your leg is going to be a sign of anxiety. You won’t get diagnosed until about 7 years later. It’s going to suck and you’ll cry because you won’t fully understand why it happens or what is triggering it. I’m still trying to figure it out so just be patient. Not everyone will understand and while some will try to “out do” your pain, there will be others who will empathize and help you.
  5. That piercing you have, you’re going to take it out and pierce it about two more times. The last time will be the least painful one and eventually, you’ll get bored of it and take it out every now and then. You’ll still have it at 31.

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    It’s all fun and games until you rip the hole or swallow the jewelry
  6. Don’t try so hard to hold on to people. Those who will make the effort to stay in your life, will. Jen will be one of those. She will go through life turmoils but will finally find her happy place. You’ll be lucky enough to meet her son, Orion, and be proud of the woman she has become all while reminiscing with her about the time you both shared a toilet to throw up in during a drunken night at Webster Hall.

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    Jen, thank you for all your spontaneous joy rides to 6 Flags and down the shore
  7. You’re going to go through your first heartbreak really soon and it’s going to hurt, bad, but it will be worth it. It will take a few years to get over the pain but you’ll reach a day when you can look back at Louie’s old pictures and say, “I’m okay.” I promise you, it will be for the best. Besides, your husband is much funnier, nicer, and he absolutely adores you.
  8. Stop being so hard on yourself. No one has their shit together. Have fun and screw what anyone thinks of you. You’re going to make mistakes but this is how you will learn.Follow up: there will be two apps where everyone will take pictures and videos to showcase their daily lives where they pretend to be happy; create and patent the apps Instgram and Snapchat. You’re welcome.
  9. Jessica will be your best college roommate. Trust me.
     

  10. Your best concert buddy is actually your brother and you will have a blast cockblocking him at concerts so go to as many as possible.

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    Enjoying In This Moment with my brother
  11. The love of your life will finally meet you in the perfect circumstance and take you to places you’ve never dreamed of seeing. He will also bring you two dogs that will love you unconditionally. In this relationship, you will learn you never really wanted kids to begin with.

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    D’aw!
  12. There will always be people that don’t like you and that’s OK. You don’t need to be their friend. You are going to keep meeting people you don’t like for whatever reason as well. That’s just life; you can’t win everyone over.
  13. Not only will you get a job, you will graduate, get a better job, and you’ll buy your own car with money you’ve saved without needing a co-signer. It’ll be terrifying but worth it.

You’re never going to like wearing office clothes, you’ll still wear cartoons on your shirt, you’ll have blue hair, and you’ll still get excited about Sailor Moon. It looks like you’ll always be young at heart… or an idiot. Just enjoy the ride!

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Morning with Annie pt. 1

I wake up, check my phone, and see messages from friends.

“Hey, can you help me with something? Want to go to the beach today in about two hours? Work out today? I think I’m hungry, what are you up to?”

It doesn’t matter who sends what – it might as well be in one message. It is too much and I haven’t had breakfast yet. Let me get out of bed to let my dogs outside. It’s really sunny out, that means people are enjoying the hot weather. There are people walking around outside. I wish I had an app that worked like Uber, except for people. I can see who is where and how close they are to me without leaving my home. That way, I can avoid them.

It’s 8am or close to so I feed my precious dogs in our sunroom so they get fresh air and enjoy the nice climate. All they do in the morning is nap in between sun bathing. I go back inside to make myself coffee and, most likely, eggs of some sort. While the burner is heating up, I try to think of clever way to use social media without people knowing I’m active on chat. If they see me active, the messages will continue. Annie likes to take this moment and whisper, “You’re a shitty friend and sooner or later, they will stop asking for you.” With that said, I am forced to open the messages and pretend to be interested in whatever daily run ins I have.

Do you really need help? I can’t make it out of my door but I can’t tell you this because I’ll sound crazy. The thought of even getting dressed to shower is already stressing me out. The beach? Shit, I need an excuse because if I agree to go, I immediately imagine myself sitting in the car and imagining all the different ways I am going to get into a car accident. What if I pee myself, poop myself, throw up because of the imaginary accident that will happen… any… minute… NOW. I play with my tongue ring when I am quiet, what if a car crashes into us and we survive but I have now bitten into my tongue so hard that I can’t stop the bleeding. What if an accident happens and no one can check on my dogs? I die, my husband has to go into the barracks, what will happen to my dogs? Will they go back to my parents? Of course, but then they will have to take care of my dogs, their dog, and cat. It’ll be chaotic. These thoughts run wild and cause my hands to sweat, chest tighten up, speaking of which, I have to say yes or no to working about. Let me handle this beach situation first before I answer to work out but I should work out before going to the beach. She is depending on me to work out. She’ll think of me as lazy and not committed. Fuck, why am I thinking of working out when I haven’t answered her back about the beach? Wait, who did I answer ‘yes’ to? Did I just agree to help her this afternoon? I have to cook dinner eventually! Wait, wait, wait, and my skillet is smoking because the butter burnt. I still haven’t even cracked the eggs.

I yell at Annie to STFU for a minute, put my phone down, cook my eggs, drink my coffee, put on a show on my laptop to watch and relax to. I forget for about 40 minutes that Annie even exists. I’ll wash the dishes later.

Back to these fucking messages. I agree to working out with her, helping her, and chit chat with her. The mindless chit chat makes me feel good. No pressure but she also understands when Annie comes around I am a different person. I love her, she is always honest with me. Am I talking about Annie? Or my friend? I don’t know anymore. I open the beach message and reply no. Not because I am busy, not because I don’t want to, I just can’t. My body and my mind will not let me. Annie won’t let me die today, I guess she is looking out for me.

I constantly look at the time because there is not enough time in the world for everything. It’s time to get ready and work out. Why. Are. All. These. People. Here?! Why did they all look at me as I was walking over? “Do I walk funny,” I ask Annie, “Yes,” she replies confidently, “You are not matching colors, you don’t walk femininely, and why are you wearing sleeveless tops like your arms are toned?” My legs are moving but I feel like I am dragging wights behind me. “I’m going to work out, why should my clothes matter? I don’t feel comfortable with sleeves when I work out,” but Annie always has an answer, “Look at their arms, they can wear what YOU want because they work out consistently. You haven’t earned the right to wear these clothes. They are judging you because of your double chin, flabby arms, round belly, blue hair. Everything about you is a joke.” I shake my head and remember where I am. I have finally crossed the street to work out. Where am I again? Why did it feel like 30 minutes pass as I walked across the street? Work it out.

We have the option to run or jog as a warm up. FUCK. ME. I guess I have to keep up. Annie runs next to me without skipping a beat, “No one expects you to run because they know your weight slows you down. So, walk and take forever or run and make it back breathless. It’s funny you care so much about what they think.” So, I run. Despite my shin pain, despite Annie weighing me down, despite the sun glare in my eyes. I just want to make this warm up finish now so I don’t have to hear Annie’s bullshit in my ear anymore. This is where I confuse struggling to run and struggling to beat an anxiety attack. “Don’t cry. More attention will be spotted on you. You cant run home because all your stuff is here. What excuse will you use now?” Finally, I make it back. I am mute. I say nothing.

We do survival work outs and somehow, for some reason, I cannot keep up. I feel like the last picked person in gym because I can’t fucking keep up. This is a strange feeling. I was always picked instantly as if it was an urgent mission to get the best of the best. I could run circles around the girls in gym who didn’t care to break a sweat. I am 30. My tooth hurts, my shins hurt, my neck was messed up, I get migraines, if I sleep in a different position during the night, I wake up in pain. Why is my body failing? I am working out with moms who take better care of themselves. Why can’t I keep up? “Because you’re lazy and you think you can cook but you don’t cook healthy,” Annie says as performs her squatting chest press with ease, “Now, you’re bringing your husband down with you.” Am I a shitty wife? No! I take care of him! Do I? This thought circles in my head with every new exercise because every time I stop for a break, Annie is shouting in my head. That’s it. I can’t take it. ANNIE, YOU WIN!

I don’t feel good. I am going to home.

I drag myself home as I hear laughter behind my back. Who is laughing? No one but Annie said everyone. “These voices won’t leave me alone.” That’s crazy, right? I don’t HEAR voices but I do. That IS crazy. Why does it take another 30 minutes? Why can’t I just RUN across the damn street? I can’t tell people this. Annie said people won’t understand. Everyone has anxiety so I’m not special. Why can’t I function right? Spell it out, a-n-i-x-e-t-y. It’s not even noon.

I shower and wash off my disappointment. Naked, I crawl back into bed while both my dogs follow. Mmmm, my dogs have that warm puppy smell. I run my fingers through the top of Potato’s (my dog) neck. She is so furry there. With every light tug I give her, I can feel my senses heighten as I close my eyes. My body flows out of the sheets like water. As I pet her, it feels as good as rubbing my feet on brand new, thick carpeting. If I keep running my hands on her body, I can feel my fingers push her fur up and feel her breathing. I put my fingers right by her armpit and I feel her pulse. Her pulse runs up my knuckles, up to my shoulders, and into my heart. Her heart beats for me. I must stay alive for her. I am her whole world. Her little paw pads feel smooth and ALWAYS smell like corn chips. I can feel my heart beat easing down with every breath I inhale of her scent. Why does she smell like shes been rolling around on concrete? Dammit. There goes my nice moment. Chimi (my little dog) always likes to lie down and curl up by my butt or crotch. I guess it’s the warmest part of my body? He will curl up and rest his head  in a position where he can still look at me. He is like my tail – always behind me. He tried to follow me everywhere to make sure I am close by. He has these huge, typical, chihuahua eyes that melt my heart. If I throw him a little kiss, without hesitation, he gets up, walks over my body to cuddle. I feel like tiny paws kneading my stomach as he passes up. He becomes this ball of fur next to my neck and rests his throat on mine. Somehow, this brings me warmth and comfort. For a moment, Annie isn’t allowed inside and I am normal. I don’t feel sick – I’m OK.

Why I Choose Cruelty Free Make Up Products [warning: graphic images]

When I first started my switch to cruelty free cosmetics, I took a trip to Sephora. Once I told one of the reps what kind I wanted, to my surprise, she asked me, “Why do you only want cruelty free make up?” I didn’t know I had to explain myself.

Cruelty free make up are products that do not test on animals. Vegan cosmetics are products that do not have any animal ingredients in them. According to LogicalHarmony, “This includes, but is not limited to, honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin, and many others.” What many people may not know is that just because a product is vegan does not mean it is cruelty free. I know, right? MIND FUCKING BLOWN.

What are some brands that are cruelty free?
I have discovered quiet of few cosmetic lines that are cruelty free (some are also vegan!). I have always shopped at Sephora and dug around for the cosmetics that fit my criteria. The first line that comes to mind is Kat Von D. For years she has expressed her love of animals and she has recently (I believe in 2015) decided to become vegan. She posted a YouTube video where she explained her decision (not that anyone needs to explain why) on how she came to this resolution. Not only did she want to lessen the horrific treatment of animals but Kat also realized how harmful breeding cattle is for the environment. I have purchased a bundle of her make up and even posted a review on some products a while back. Anastasia Beverly Hills is also cruelty free but may not be vegan (they have used beeswax in their lipsticks before). I have been trying to get my hands on their lipsticks but either they don’t have the shade I want or simply forget to pick it up!

Is-Your-Makeup-Bag-Cruelty-Free

If you are looking for cheaper make up (price wise, not product), WetNWild has been my new obsession recently. I absolutely love their Liquid Catsuit matte lipstick and I am determined to get all the shades. They also have vegan make up brushes as well. The best part about this line is it’s available at drugstores. I have been buying all of my WetNWild at Walgreens. I live in PR at the moment so the prices are about $4-$5 which is super cheap for the long lasting wear the Catsuit provides! E.L.F. is another brand that can be found in drugstores, including TJMaxx. Another brand that is not only cruelty free but vegan as well is Pacifica. I haven’t found this yet but I will keep my eyes out for this brand as it also sells in drugstores.

Which companies hate bunnies?
It’s safe to say that big companies such as Bobbi Brown, Maybelline, Avon, Clinique, Cover Girl and the majority make up commercials you see are not cruelty free. I found two lists online to confirm which products are cruelty free and which are not. Some companies that push they are cruelty free can be a little tricky due to their parent company. Tarte, for instance was bought by KOSE, a Japanese cosmetic brand that do test on animals. Urban Decay is another disappointment; they are owned by L’Oreal who also test on animals. I was able to obtain and confirm this information by YouTuber boxes of foxes. She calls them out and raises a few good points. Why “proudly stand by cruelty free” if your parent company still tests on animals? If you’re interested to see what other companies are and are not cruelty free, check out LogicalHarmony and CrueltyFreeKitty.

Basically any line that is sold in China must be tested on animals by law regulations. The practice in which they test on our furry friends is pretty harsh. Along with being shaved to determine skin irritation, they also get solutions dripped into their eyes. After suffering for beauty’s sake, they get forced fed to detect lethal dosages. In other words, the testers want to see how much of the product do you have to ingest until you die. Of course, not every test subject gets that death sentence. The other animals that show bleeding on their skin, organ damage, and even birth defects are not given any pain killers, instead, their necks get manually snapped or are asphyxiated.

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Why I made the change
It’s no secret that I absolutely love my animals and I donate money to the ASPCA. I wanted to make some sort of a change for myself to better the world. I thought about what I could sacrifice or what I could change about myself and as well as commit to. I tried going vegan (and vegetarian)  and that was an absolute disaster. I barely made it half way through the day. So I figured, my make up! Make up is something I definitely don’t need but it’s a luxury, not to mention costly AF! So I did some research and found out a few cosmetic lines that are and are not cruelty free.

Why I am not a hypocrite because I eat meat
Unlike Kat Von D, I do not have the discipline to give up dairy and meat and technically, no, we do not need meat (unless you have a condition where you can easily get the nutrients you need from meat rather than any other form) as well as I don’t need make up. I choose to purchase and wear it, just not at the expense of an animal. I wear sneakers, drive a car with rubber tires, use sugar, and even dye my hair with Rusk. Giving up make up was an easy change and a small change. I have committed to it for over a year now and my next step will be changing my hair products. Although, I know I may or may not ever become vegan or vegetarian, I still feel good about myself knowing there is one less person hurting animals JUST to look pretty.

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I will never lecture someone (except this one blog post) why they should purchase certain brands of cosmetics but if you ask my opinion on what lipstick is long lasting, what blush goes on best, or what foundation I am wearing, I will always recommend a cruelty free brand. If I can just convince someone to change their beauty regiment on the sake of saving animals, then I know I reached my goal.

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Thanks, Charissa!

 

Ways of getting around being homesick

Has anyone ever been homesick? I remember when I was about 18 years old, I had went to California to visit my brother for a month. Holy shit, by week 3, I was so homesick and actually missed my parents. Before you say, “well, you’re a baby, you’re supposed to miss them,” – no. I was 18 years old. I’m supposed to be happy to be away and the first two weeks were great but I really got home sick for my parents, their food, surrounding, comfortableness of home. Thankfully, my brother took me out so I wasn’t obsessing over how much I missed home. I didn’t get that feeling until I moved to another state least year. By that time, I was 27 years old. The first few weeks were, again, great because I had moved with my new hubby but then he left. He had to go underway and I was alone. I had never been all alone for such a long period of time in my entire life. I had dormed in college but I always had a room mate. I learned very quickly, I needed to adjust and keep myself occupied.

Below are some activities that I have done to help me cope with being homesick. Enjoy!

1. NETFLIX! I’ll talk about the fucking gym later on. We all know Netflix is good for the body and soul, too! Get into a show that is going to keep you busy and entertained. I decided on the Gilmore Girls because it has so many seasons, Army Wives, Sons of Anarchy, Pretty Little Liars. Shows with over 3 seasons will be your best friend – especially if you’re away at college… that is, when you finally take the nozzle of the beer you’ve been funneling out of your mouth!09e
courtesy of knowyourmeme.com

note: RESIST watching the seasons in a weekend time. You will burn through your shows, be depressed when they end, and be at square one again.

2. Get a hobby. I hate when people say that to me. I feel like the girls I know don’t really have many hobbies. Please spare me, hiking, gym, running as hobbies – shoot yourselves. I’m addressing this to the “normal” cupcake eating, occasional jogging to show off your new leggings, “I’ll start this diet Monday” girls. I actually found my hobby (if you can call it that) and that is cosplaying. Once I get into a project, THAT IS IT. I devote a lot of time to the character I am creating. What makes this particular hobby fun and time consuming is the way I make the costumes. I normally do a “rough draft” as practice to see if I can work with the first thing I made or if I need to tweak it or start from scratch by using another method. Cosplaying is a lot of work and can drain some money. I just started this hobby so I am not savvy on buying cheap but good material yet.
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courtesy of memegenerator.com

3. Plants. This might sound crazy but it took me years to enjoy the presence of plants. We have a little jalepno plant in our apartment that is about 2 years old now. I want to actually grow my own veggies, herbs, and fruits one day. You can start off with one plant (no cactus, put some effort into this) and do some research on how to care for it. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about plants…
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courtesy of memecenter..com

Keep building your own little garden (if the weather you live in permits). This will give you a daily routine. When my husband is away, I would wake up, take our puppy out to pee, come back in, make coffee, brush my teeth, water the plant, check how it’s doing, and count down the calendar. It will not only give your place life but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment of being able to keep something other than yourself alive.

4. Already have a plant in process? Try a pet (if you can afford or are allowed to have one in your facility). Believe me, these little fur babies WILL keep you busy all day long. You’ll be even busier if you get a puppy! Please refer to my previous post about adopting a puppy. I fucking love my Potato… anyway!  These guys will keep you so busy you won’t have time to be homesick unless you have never taken care of animal by yourself. In that case, you may have a total meltdown from the pressure of having to keep a living, breathing, walking creature alive and if you fail, no one will love you because who would love a puppy killer?…………………………………….

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Moving on =D

Please be certain you have the time, patience, money, and love to care for an animal. Just because you have love for them, doesn’t mean you have the rest of the qualities to care for one.

5. Gym. If all the other tips fail or begin to prove signs that you’re repressing emotions, give this a shot. This was also part of my routine but I am in no means in shape.
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courtesy of pixshark.com

I strictly used the gym to fill up time and keep me occupied. I basically went to pass the time but when I was in there, whether I was running, lifting, or anything else, my mind was focused on what I was doing. I don’t need to lose concentration and get hurt for the security cameras to record and later make fun of me. Nothing is on my mind except what I am doing at that moment and, of course, my breathing.

6. Get a job or join a club. I hate group activities, which is why I put this last.
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courtesy of memecenter.com

If you have a job that keeps you busy, you should be okay. If you don’t have a job and you’re a social butterfly, try joining a club or volunteer your time (for those who can’t afford paying a monthly fee for a club due to no job!). Again, this will keep your mind focused and really force you to be independent.

There you go, if you have made it this far, thank you for reading and thank you for understanding my sarcasm. Being homesick sucks and I still get it time to time but I do all of these things that keep me from going fucking insane.

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